Is Stomach Acid the Villain in Acid Reflux Disease?
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/22/2006 | Health
Natural stomach acid is in your stomach for a reason. The actual acid is not the cause of acid reflux disease. It is not like it is a nasty poison that someone put in there without approval. The acid breaks down foods and sorts them out into the right department so to speak. Proper digestion depends on the presence of adequate stomach acid while you are eating.
When you eat, food moves from the mouth through the esophagus and into the stomach to be digested. At the end of the esophagus there is a band of muscles that open and allow foods to go into the stomach. It then closes to prevent the food and acid from coming back up into the esophagus. Many people experience acid reflux when foods or digestive juices escape the stomach and come back up through the esophagus.
To make sure your stomach has enough acid at mealtimes, make sure you chew your food thoroughly. Getting saliva mixed into the food as you chew will get the digestion process off to a good start.
Snacking throughout the day causes the stomach to pump out acid gradually instead of saving it for mealtimes when it is needed the most. It is best to not eating closer than three hours apart. For example - if you eat breakfast at six a.m. and lunch at twelve p.m. then a snack at nine a.m. would be fine.
Next, make sure you do not drink too much liquid while eating a meal. Too much liquid dilutes the necessary acid in the stomach. The best policy is to drink a glass of water 30 minutes to one hour before or after your meal, with only a few ounces consumed during the meal. After you've eaten one hour or two feel free to guzzle down all the pure natural water you want.
Another cause of acid reflux comes from eating large meals. This increases pressure on the stomach causing the stomach contents to be forced out and up into the esophagus. You will need to give your body at least two hours to digest your food properly. And never ever lie down immediately after eating a large meal.
To avoid overproduction of acid eat smaller portions of food at each meal. It would also help a lot to eliminate any fried food or food that contains refined sugar, or caffeine.
Obesity can also increase abdominal pressure, and your risk of suffering from acid reflux as well. If you are overweight, cutting back on the amounts of food that you eat at each meal, and exercising daily should put you on the right path to helping you shed a few pounds.
Acid reflux is caused in some people when the sphincter muscle at the end of the esophagus becomes weak or does not close correctly. Prescription drugs, certain foods, alcohol, and smoking have been known to weaken the sphincter muscles.
Try not to use antacids since they cut down the acids you will need when you eat. Without enough acid, your stomach is unable to do its job of breaking down the food into the various nutrient components.
Inadequate digestion of proteins can cause the liver to increase production of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol that does the most damage to your body.
Instead of taking antacids try the following natural approach. If you still have sour stomach in between meals try eating something that will settle it without triggering more acid production such as sauerkraut. Your stomach should relax after eating sauerkraut in five to ten minutes.
The benefits of natural solutions are they normally cost a lot less, but even more important is the fact that natural solutions are a healthier alternative. They tend to reduce the possibility of becoming dependant on addictive chemical drugs.
There are also three herbs that are well known for soothing stomach muscles which are chamomile, gentian, and ginger. If your problem does not respond successfully to natural remedies within a few days, please see your health care provider.